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BUMMER SUMMER, 2010, 80 min.


Director - Zach Weintraub

Camera - Nandan Rao

Sound - Dusty Wickham (production) and Katie Rotondi (post)

Editor - Jesse Fisher

Starring Mackinley Robinson and Julia McAlee


A quiet teen spends the summer hanging out with his older brother - home from college - and the older brother's ex-girlfriend. The three of them take an impromptu road trip and subtle, underlying tensions are revealed.


This was our first feature film. Nandan and I met in film school. At that time, mumblecore was at its peak. Those films helped me understand that I didn't need to make a short thesis film when I could just as easily finish school early and make a feature on my own. So, I moved back to my hometown (Olympia, WA) at the beginning of 2009. Nandan wasn't finished with school, but he took a semester-long leave of absence to come help.

We spent an entire six months in "pre-production". Having never made a movie before, we made a lot of questionable judgement calls about how to spend this time. We threw failed fundraisers (most notably a roller disco), tried to lure investors with a lemonade stand, and left letters asking for money on the doorsteps of expensive-looking houses. We went out a lot in search of new friends, secretly sizing them up as potential actors, or weighing the photogenic value of their living spaces. Everyone who appears in the movie is someone we cajoled into participating.

The shoot lasted all of July and into August. We worked from an 18-page outline that laid out each scene in the movie. The dialogue was entirely improvised, but we rehearsed the more conversational scenes several times in the months leading up to the shoot. We knew that to rush could lead to poor decisions, creative sacrifices, and - worst of all - bad vibes, so we scheduled our days to maximize our margin for error. We never shot more than four scenes in a day, always got a full night's sleep, and spent as much time swimming and eating soft serve as we did working.



The weirdly twee spec/fundraising trailer that we shot, clearly during the peak of our fascination with mumblecore. Lila played by Lucy Hulbert here.

Review in Variety

Review in The Seattle Times

Power Couple - Julia's latest music project.

Julia McAlee's full performance from the scene at the house show.

Alex Rivera's full performance from the same scene.

Videos related to two of our failed fundraising efforts: a lemonade stand, and leaving letters at random big houses.

During pre-production we were posting about the project on facebook and a friend of a friend named Dusty Wickham messaged us wondering how he could help. He wound up coming to Olympia to record sound and lend a general hand throughout the entire month-long production. And he was SO COOL. When he left after the shoot, we made this video in his honor.